Beside lush tropical forest, emerald hills and white sand beaches Sumba island is famous for it’s traditional festivals and the way they are celebrated according to Marapu religion of local people.
The Pasola is probably the largest, best-known and colorful annual ceremony on Sumba. The name is derived from the word Hola or Sola = wooden stick or spear. Pa suggests that this is a game.
The Pasola takes place at six major locations in West Sumba.
In February at
– Hoba Kalla – Lamboya
– Homba Klayo, Lete Loko und Tosi – Kodi
– Bondo Kawango, Pero Batang – Kodi
- Rara Winyo, Ate Dalo – Kodi
In March at
– Pahiwi (beach / pantai) & Kamaradena (field / medan) – Wanokaka
- Weetana, Gaura – Lamboya- Wainyapu, Waiha – Kodi Bangedo
The exact date of the Pasola known only a few weeks before but usually it is on the tenth day after the first full moon of February or March. Please check online or better with your Sumba hospitality host.
Pasola festival is a competition battle between two or more villages.
In this spears battle game ritual riders compete against each other. Both riders and horses have special colorful individual dress and decoration. For hours they gallop bareback on Sumba horses and hurl their spears against their opponents with full force. The hand-carved spears are up to five centimeters thick and dull but still hurt the unlucky opponent or knock off him from the steed.
The cheering crowd is also wearing unique and eye catching dresses and even special make up.
The symbolism of the festival is that the more blood is shredded by competitors on the ground the more fertile the soil will be to increase the yield of the coming year harvest. The Pasola ceremony has the direct relation to agriculture.
Winner ridders of the battle enjoy the high society status and fame until the next festival.
The Pasola is becoming an international tourist attraction, similar to the Palio of Siena.
Do not miss it the way it is!